Thailand Celebrates Makha Bucha Day (Photos)

Ethnic groups give offerings of khao tom mad to monks Thursday at Wat Nanong in Ratchaburi.

BANGKOK — The beginning of March comes with one of the most important Buddhist holidays of the year.

Thailand on Thursday celebrated Makha Bucha Day by making merit and giving offerings to monks. Some meditated and participated in candle processions in temples.

Alcohol sales are banned on this religious holiday, during which abstinence is common. According to Buddhist teachings, Makha Bucha marks the day Buddha passed on his teachings to 1,250 of his followers.

Provincial ceremonies have their own local and ethnic flavor to the event.

Korat

The winners and contestants of the Miss Elephant’s Daughter pageant this Sunday led 250 people in giving offerings to monks at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima.

Ratchaburi

In a unique ceremony, the provincial governor, 61 monks and many of Tai and Yuan ethnicity focused on offering steamed sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, or khao tom mad, to monks at Wat Nanong.

“Local folks here are mostly farmers, so making khao tom mad is easy for them because it uses natural materials,” Phra Kru Winatornamnat, abbot of Wat Nanong, said. “This is the first year most of the offerings consist of khao tom mad…I hope next year we will sustain this good local tradition.”

Pathum Thani

About 5,000 Thais and foreigners alike made merit to 3,000 monks of the controversial Dhammakaya Temple Thursday morning in Pathum Thani.

Phra Mahanopporn Punyachaiyo, temple spokesmonk, said that followers would light 100,000 candles at night and everyone would chant a total of 390,001,250 prayers.

Satun

Thai and Myanmar Buddhists in this southern province worked together to carry two pieces of 100 meter-long cloth to wrap around the chedi at Wat Phra Boromthatchedi.